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On Stage

On Stage: 'The Marriage of Figaro'


Le Nozze di Figaro, or The Marriage of Figaro, is an opera buffa, or comic opera, in four acts, adapted from the stage comedy “The Mad Day, or The Marriage of Figaro” by Pierre Beaumarchais. It was the first of three operas that joined the talents of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and librettist Lorenzo Da Ponte; the other two collaborations were Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte.

Mozart selected the play that he wanted Da Ponte to adapt, and within six weeks, Da Ponte had eliminated what the Holy Roman Emperor, Joseph II, considered “objectionable material,” which included mostly political commentary on inherited nobility. Da Ponte turned the conflict toward infidelity and droit du seigneur, that is, the “right” of nobility to take a servant girl to bed the night before her wedding. The plot is meant to continue the story of The Barber of Seville, set some years later, with the events covering a single day that follows the servants Figaro and Susanna as they seek to marry. It premiered in Vienna on May 1st, 1786, to great success. Today, it is considered fun, farcical, and perhaps the most perfect opera ever written. According to Operabase, Le Nozze di Figaro is consistently among the top ten operas performed most frequently around the world.

Wichita State University's School of Music is performing Le Nozze di Figaro onstage at Miller Concert Hall in the Duerksen Fine Arts Center on April 19th to April 22nd.